Assistant Professor of Psychological Science Jessica Ayers published and article titled “Friendship research is getting an update – and that’s key for dealing with the loneliness epidemic” in The Conversation on Nov. 1, 2023.
An excerpt from the article reads: “The benefits of friendship go far beyond having someone to confide in or spend time with – it can also protect you from physical and mental health problems. For example, people with good friends recover more quickly from illnesses and surgeries. They report higher well-being and feel like they live up to their full potential. Additionally, people with good friends report being less lonely across many life stages, including adolescence, becoming a parent and old age.
In fact, friendships are so powerful that the social pain of rejection activates the same neural pathways that physical pain does.
Behavioral scientists like me have tended to focus our research about friendships on their benefits. How to cultivate these powerful relationships hasn’t been as deeply researched yet. Understanding more about what people look for in a friend and how to make and sustain good friendships could help fight the loneliness epidemic.”